Moderate rise in Golden Visas
The number of residence permits issued to non-European Union citizens, known as Golden Visas, in Greece in 2021 posted a moderate increase of 10.3% from 2020, with the issue of 1,035 new five-year permits, up from 938 the previous year.
Consequently the funds placed in the Greek real estate market for that purpose are estimated at a minimum of 258.7 million euros, which highlights the maintenance of the high investment interest from abroad in acquiring a residence in Greece.
The increase in permits may in fact be even greater, given that the above figure only concerns those already issued and does not include applications for permits that have not yet been processed, even though their realty purchases have been completed.
In recent years it has been standard policy at the Migration Ministry to revise the previous year’s figures upward as soon as the processing of applications submitted in that period has been completed. Even so, last year the performance of the Golden Visa program remained well below the 2019 high (with 3,535 permits issue), or the 2018 level (1,893).
The purchases implemented last year by non-EU nationals were far higher than the number of permits issued; however, the problems seen in various cadaster and land register offices have resulted in significant delays in the process for the issuing of Golden Visas. The permits for those purchases last year will be issued in 2022.
The latest data show that since the start of the Golden Visa program, Greece has issued a total of 9,610 permits to investors, or 28,767 permits including their family members too.
The bulk of recipients in those seven years are Chinese nationals who have netted two-thirds of permits (6,405), with Turkish citizens a distant second (605) and Russians in third place (576). Other Golden Visa recipients include Lebanese (304 permits), Egyptians (250) and Iranians (194).
Bank of Greece data showed that in the January-September 2021 period funds of €797.2 million arrived in Greece for the purpose of property acquisition.